What do you do after you've had the little pity party to mourn the end of summer? Plant some fall stuff! Here are some things that have worked well for me in zone 6a (Southern New York).
1)Beets – Even if a full beet doesn’t grow, you can still harvest the greens before frost.
2)Garlic – Funnest crop ever. Plant in late October or November before the ground freezes.You can get special garlic forgrowing from a mail order source like Miller’s nursery, or from your farmers market (but be sure to ask the farmer if the garlic has been treated to prevent sprouting).Break the bulb apart and plant the single cloves about 6” apart, and 4” deep.In July, that single clove will have formed a full head!
3)Cover Crop – cover crops are a way of fertilizing your vegetable beds by adding nitrogen. Ryegrass, buckwheat or vetch can be planted in mass sowings. The leaves and roots that die and decompose through the winter are turned over and worked into the soil. Cover crop seeds can be purchased through Johnny Seeds.
4)Flower bulbs – October and November are the ideal time to plant tulip, daffodil, snow drop, and crocus bulbs.Van Engelen is a great source for bulbs of all kinds.
5)Radishes – with their short 30-day growing cycle, you should have a nice bunch before Thanksgiving if you put them in now.
6)Spinach – Spinach can be planted now and you’ll get a few leaves before frost, plus the seeds will overwinter and be among the first to sprout in the spring, giving you a headstart on all things green.
7)Peas – If you have any pea seeds left over from your spring sowing, why not put in a row now?You could get a pre-frost crop since they love cool sunny weather.
8)Arugula – Like spinach, arugula seeds overwinter well.Leaves can be picked until frost, but leave the root in to send up more in the spring.
9)Peonies – Fall is an ideal time to plant, divide or move peony crowns.When you see their little red fingers reaching out of the March thaw, you know spring has arrived.
10) Sow kale seeds at least two months before your first frost – and frost actually improves the flavor of kale! This is a beautiful variety called Tuscan kale that I grew this year.I’m also trying a mix of ornamental kales this time.